This is one of those books that I don’t remember how I heard about it but I remember the summary sounded different than most of the books on my shelf.
Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott is horrified when he comes home from school and finds his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. The reason for her suicide attempt is even more disturbing: she thought she’d identified Ephraim’s body at the hospital that day.
Among his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim finds a strange coin—a coin that grants wishes when he flips it. With a flick of his thumb, he can turn his alcoholic mother into a model parent and catch the eye of the girl he’s liked since second grade. But the coin doesn’t always change things for the better. And a bad flip can destroy other people’s lives as easily as it rebuilds his own.
The coin could give Ephraim everything he’s ever wanted—if he learns to control its power before his luck runs out.
I highly enjoyed the cast of characters peppering this. They felt realistic to me. Not too old for their age as I feel a lot of YA characters are but not too naive either. The boys felt like nerds, sure, but still boys. And the girls were portrayed nicely as feeling out of reach to the boys but never actually acting haughty or better than them. And I really liked all the set up with the kids and the various adults in their world. And then, on the flip side, I liked how we left all of the characters. They were changed and different but not perfect and still didn’t have all the answers. It was a good balance. And I especially liked how Ephraim and Jena were left. But I can’t say anything more about that.
Also, the plot starts of with a mysterious library card, which is just awesome.
The book than delves into something reminiscent of the Butterfly Effect with jumping around and the world around Ephraim changing and him trying and trying to make things better and not let everything get out of control! It got a little confusing to keep track of some of the changes and alterations made and such but I just sort of “went with it” until we got all the big reveals, as it were.
My favourite and least favourite thing about this book was that it had a classic feel to it. Reading felt similar to watching the movies I loved as a kid. You know, those ’90s movies where a group of friends discover something fantastic and use it to change their humdrum life and then realize that they actually liked their lives the way the were and now they have to deal with an evil villain? I liked that it reminded me of my childhood and a different type of story telling than is prevalent right now but at the same time, it felt almost as if I’d already read it….or watched it. Not necessarily a bad thing, I read books like that all the time, just this time I really noticed it.
I found the characters and the plot made it worthwhile though. I liked that Myers brought a bunch of different elements together into one fun, intriguing story and I’m looking forward to the sequel.